During Missouri firearms antlerless-only season, hunters have another weeklong opportunity to fill the freezer. With my buck tags already filled thanks to an early-October buck with my Bear Archery Redemption EKO bow and a mature buck with my rifle in mid-November, I, too, was in pursuit of filling my antlerless tag.
As I began getting dressed on a Sunday afternoon to go to the stand, I caught myself skipping a few steps in my typical deer-hunting routine. One aspect lacking was my focus; I found myself hurrying to get ready and not taking the standard gear to the stand because it was only a doe. The other unenthusiastic part of my routine preparation was my scent-control efforts. I dressed in my ScentLok garments, yet I did not take the time to spray down my boots and gear with a scent-control spray, nor did I check the wind direction before heading to my stand for the evening. Oh well, I was only going after a doe.
Often, when deer hunters are in the stand and get busted by the nose of a deer, the deer smelled the hunter’s scent in the wind and disapproved. When there are two or three mature does around while hunting, it is imperative to be cautious about human scent. On many occasions when does are in the area, they constantly check their surroundings, often checking the wind. I have been busted too often not to respect their fantastic sense of smell. That’s what happened on this hunt, and I was made.
That evening, common sense finally sank in, and I elected to re-group, return to my truck, spray down with my OZ NFuse Ozone Sprayer, and choose a more appropriate stand location based on my MRI and wind direction. After spraying down with the NFuse Ozone Sprayer, I headed towards my elevated ground blind because of a more favorable wind direction and a GOOD prediction from DeerCast for that evening.
A mere thirty minutes into my hunt, several does begin filtering into the backside of the CRP field where I was positioned. After watching them for several minutes, I picked out a mature doe and dialed my sights in at 110 yards. After a soft squeeze of the trigger, the mature doe took a few steps, then went down.
It is easy for hunters to slack off when they aren’t pursuing a mature buck, but we should always practice proper scent control. It can ruin your hunt and also have negative effects on future hunts. Suppose a doe smells a hunter while in a particular location. She sniffs and blows until she has let every animal in the general area know that danger is near. If deer smell danger too many times, they may avoid the area altogether. That’s why practicing proper scent control on every hunt is vital. Mature bucks, too, often smell human presence and avoid the area without the hunter ever knowing they were around.
Hunters should always take precautions and dress in carbon clothing that adsorbs human odor, use ozone to destroy unwanted odors that may be left behind, and respect the wind and the animal you are hunting. Even when only hunting does, I still try to approach my stand in a stealth mode, trying to be as quiet as possible. I take the best route to my stand to avoid spooking any deer before hunting, and I take precautions during every hunt to avoid long-term negative effects. By paying extra attention to every hunt, my best hunting locations stay hunt-ready.
Doe hunting is a great way to train yourself to be a better hunter when hunting mature bucks and an equally great way to fill your freezer with venison. So treat it as seriously as you would if you were hunting the buck of a lifetime. Complete the same scent-control steps and maintain the same overall approach to your hunt. Practice and maintain your good habits and you’ll maximize your opportunities for success on every hunt.
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